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Messages - richardgurtler

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Fimbria" CDr by Landru
« on: January 20, 2013, 02:14:08 AM »


Landru "Fimbria" CDr

Landru is Patxi Hernández, one of driving forces behind Altera Orbe label, and "Fimbria" is his second solo ambient installment, released during September 2012. "Fimbria" comes as CDr edition packaged in elegant digipak. "Corrosion" unfolds the album and dives straightly into shadowy cavernous realms. Eerie, but richly organic-flavored ambience is melted with diverse distinguishing industrial and cybernetic fragments, some of them more harmonious while some others more discordant, with 12 minutes the longest composition on "Fimbria". "Substantia Nigra" keeps its synergetic path melting darkly spiraling pads, sparse future-tech elements with the sounds of flowing water. "Echoes" remain in subterranean domains, but comprise a quite hymnic drone. "The Passage", as its title suggests, is a shorter transitional number, where frightening zones are merged with otherworldly voice-like sounds and swirling effects, quite unique piece. "Cosmic Strings" bridge deep drones with various sharp dissonances and low primal rumbles. Again remaining rather sparse and weird, but strongly effective. "Miñaco" attracts with its semi-rhythmed cyberscape, sculpted with razor sharp whip sound effects and distant rumbles and winds. It gets closer to cybernetic-flavored first album "Neurotransmitters". And this future-tech sound can be explored also through "Amalgam", a composition of hazed, but vibrant technoscape crossed with cyber noises. However, "Katabatic Wind" quickly soars to wondrous primordial worlds with graciously floating and pleasantly soothing dreamscapes. A truly immersing composition, which grows on me with every repeated listen. The title composition "Fimbria" unfolds with the interplay of denser, high-tech soundscapes and water sound effects, but later cascades into hypnotically coiling and mid-paced, pulsing grooves. Electrifying cyber-tech escapade!!! "The Last Quelonid" integrates again various future-tech effects, rumbles and relaxing nature sounds, surrounded by immense sacral washes with ethereal choir-like essence. "Melted Stone" opens with deeply absorbing atmozones enriched sparkling noises, but the journey is soon stolen by spiraling, crystalline electro pulses, which transform this composition into steadily living and breathing trajectory, masterfully backed by mesmerizingly flowing water soundscapes. Absolutely brilliant finale!!! "Fimbria" is another freshly vital, adventurously sculpted and hauntingly distinctive work by this potential Spaniard, who is not afraid of searching his own pathway. And by the time I am completing these lines, a brand new album "Scotoma" has been released on Altera Orbe, so I really look forward to more exciting endeavors from Landru!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 20, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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I wish I had ordered this along with "Soul Tones" last month, could have saved about $7 or $8.  I ordered it separately later and should be getting it any day now.  Really looking forward to this one! Nice review. 

Drone on, I hope your copy of "Tales From The Ultra Tribe" will arrive to you soon and you will enjoy it as much I do!!!

Richard

303


Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf "Tales From The Ultra Tribe" CD

Exactly one year has passed since the phenomenal "Back To Life" 2CD by Steve Roach, which still deeply resonates with me. But now it's time to celebrate another groundbreaker!!! Yes, though this time The Master is joined by his fellow Arizonian shaman Byron Metcalf, a ceremonial and therapeutic guide, for their 6th collaborative project (some of them feature also Mark Seelig and Dashmesh Khalsa), but both artists have joined their forces also on other highly notable works such as both parts of "The Shaman's Heart", three parts of "Fever Dreams", "New Life Dreaming", "Live At SoundQuest Fest"... Profoundly magnificent "Back To Life" symphony is now shifted into a brand new level, a dimension emphasized by Byron's virtuoso performance on various drums, shakers, rattles, udu, clay pots... Steve utilizes various analog and digital synths including Eurorack analog modular, sequencers, drum machines, didge, ocarina and mega waterphone. Yes, their previous mostly tribal shamanistic infused harmony is now bridged with deeply mesmerizing cyber-trance adventures. What a fusion!!! "Setting Forth" fires the journey up with rather more groovier high-spirited hypnotics, with less primal impact, more hidden by cyber-tech bedding. With nearly 14 minutes the longest composition. Psychoactive hybrid of ancient and future, a sonic realm of pure splendor and power, but that's just the beginning!!! "A Noble Direction" kicks and both artists fully unfold their immeasurable wizardry. Vibrant tribal percussions with ultra monstrous beat are backed by flowing and ebbing immense and expressive wide-screen landscapes. And in about the middle of the track this tribal storm calms down and harmonious heartbeat of both shamans can be heard for 10 seconds, then this exciting journey again unwraps all its hyper-active rhythms. A truly mind-transporting experience presenting Steve & Byron at the very top of their creative and visionary capability, a Hall Of Fame cyber-organic sound sculpting!!! Quality pair of speakers or headphones are highly recommended for pure sonic bliss!!! "Midnight Migration" hauntingly blends lazy high-tech grooves with spiraling intense nocturnal soundscapes, later heavier tribals join and guide us deeper into primordial realms. Another brilliant tribal-groovy escapade!!! Illuminative shamanistic percussions lead "The Magma Clan" and remain in breathtakingly monstrous cave domains, perfectly displaying the new sonic terrains explored by these two sound curanderos. Tribal-trance expedition at its most organic, a true shamanistic powerhouse!!! "Road From Here" blasts with more minimal, but hyper kinetic cyber grooves and percussions, here and there joined by heavier tribal drumming. The last quarter slows down a bit and warmer panoramas pervade. "Fire Sky Portal" is surrounded by desert heat and involves array of cyber-tech embellishments, but also earthy infusions. Sparsely layered, but richly shimmering, with 4-plus minutes the shortest number. "Return Of The Dragon Bone Tribe" holds rather minimal signature from its predecessor, again more synthetic flavored than primal, capturing quite hallucinogenic mind-trip with its repetitive electro-organic pulses and breaths. Comforting expansive washes with gently distant grooves blanket the closing piece, "In The Safety Of Travel", along with occasional primordial rumbles appearing towards the end when the journey slowly fades away and reaches the point where all originated. Wow, this is absolutely jaw-dropping listening experience!!! And of course work like this requires appropriate cover artwork, this time Ralph Prata from Bloomingdale, NY, who creates amazing sculptural concrete carvings, has provided stunningly gorgeous images (layout by Sam Rosenthal), exquisitely interacting with Steve's & Byron's extraordinaire cyber-trance-shamanistic performances!!! The limits have been pushed once again, a milestone!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 16, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Mathias Grassow "Second Gift Of Life" CD

After more than 20 solo and collaboration albums released on Databloem's sublabel Practising Nature, here comes the premiere solo CD on the main Databloem label, released at December 1st, 2012. As obvious for this German drone virtuoso, his release pipeline is always completely filled, if I am counting correctly, "Second Gift Of Life" might be Mathias' 8th album (including two collaborations with John Haughm and Carsten Agthe) plus one remastered edition ("Himalaya") during the last 12 months. A truly productive year!!! The journey launches with "Primordial", a quite typical drone piece, monotonously ebbing and drifting, wrapped by hissy clouds throughout and flavored by processed flute sounds and mechanized outbursts and breaths. Full immersion guaranteed!!! As mentioned by the artist, this track is based on "Ambience" sessions (the famous "Ambience" album was originally released in 1995). "A Second Of Stillness" is of a heavier and deeper calibre and drifts into gloomier terrains. Endlessly spiraling mysterious dronescape with sacred choir-like obscured mood is precisely bridged with distant subtle tinkles. After about 10 minutes tranquilizing watery sounds join the texture. "Nada Brahma" clocks to nearly 23 minutes and hovers on long static drones, which create deeply hypnotizing feel thanks to its occurring ethereal voice-like character, here and there fragranced with distant factory-like infusions and hisses adding again some haziness to the overall atmosphere of this composition. Quiet and delicate soundscaping with the signature of Mathias Grassow!!! "70's Language Of Time" dives into adventurous terrains with freshly sequenced parts coupled with spooky heavy sacral percussions and assorted expressive female chants, voice samples and rainy sounds. Stunningly colorful, distinctive and evocative sonic escapade presenting The Drone King at his most extraordinary!!! Could be easily compared to some of the secret projects of El Culto clan... And one of the highlights too!!! Immense icy dronescapes invade the closing composition, "Egawen - The End Of The Beginning", tediously flowing and waning, safely guarded by angelic choirs and occasionally enhanced by hauntingly tricky fragments. Masterfully reflective and profoundly mesmerizing journey!!! Databloem's distinctive cover imaging path created by their persistent visual guru Theo Rabou provides another bonus points to this album, a sublimely fitting accompaniment to the music. Once again, Mathias Grassow keeps on exhibiting his infinite drone visionary!!! "Second Gift Of Life" is definitely a vital addition to your massive discography by this enigmatic sound shaman. Superb album!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 11, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: New Resonant Drift CD
« on: January 11, 2013, 08:37:51 AM »
Highly recommended album!!! Visually too, gorgeous 6-panel digipak!!! Nice job, Bill & Gary!!!  :)

Richard

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Aestrata "Beyond The Veil" CDr

Aestrata is the new name of project driven by German drone purveyor Tomas Weiss, at least according to the information I have, because more detailed credits are wrapped by the majestic thick foggy blankets of the stunning cover image by Jesse Harrison. Firstly used as an album title in 2010 in his notable collaboration with another German drone monster, Mathias Grassow. Released at November 2012 as limited edition of 100 pieces on El Culto's Musical Philosophy. Sculpted of four compositions, continually entitled "Beyond I" to "Beyond IV", all clocking between 7 and half and 18-plus minutes. "Beyond I", the shortest piece, unfolds straightly with tranquilly expanding dronescapes. Yes, still quite serene and monotonous, although the dronewall is getting more massive with every minute. Tides of slightly noisier dissonances on the background can be examined as well, but otherwise a truly flatlined drone leads this mind journey. The next composition, the longest one, "Beyond II" is invaded by gracious aerial drifts, slowly expanding into colossal dimensions, which are distinctive characteristic of these Germans. Quite celestial at times with above hovering choir-like washes, but always interacting with evolving drone monstrosity with ever-changing intensity and thickness. Occasionally backed by distant tinkles and swirls. Soundscaping can't be more immersing and transporting like "Beyond II", a truly mind-blowing sonic ecstasy awaits each journeyer!!! "Beyond III" reveals more relieving drifts with slightly mysterious chamber-like feel. But again enriched by few tinkles and futuristic sound injections and breaths. A perfect soundtrack for a free fall dive into giant sinkhole!!! "Beyond IV" strikes immediately with massive shadowy drone, harmoniously and mesmerizingly circling with monochromatic layers. A deeply relaxing finale for my ears!!! "Beyond The Veil" is another absolutely thrilling and rewarding sonic odyssey by one of the most respected drone wizards!!! Not to forget, yesterday Tomas Weiss has just announced the 2nd volume of "Submental" series entitled "Wintersilence", so stay tuned for, this time more tranquil reflections. Also in the pipeline is Emotone project, a collaboration between Tomas Weiss and Tania Giannouli, composer and pianist from Athens, Greece. Join El Culto!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 05, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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This is an excellent album, nice review.  Are the two new ones available on CDR?

Thank you so much, drone on, I really appreciate your words!!!

Regarding "Sunprints" and "Our True Nature", I think "officially" they are not released on CDr yet, but I am quite sure Steve is able to provide nice CDr copies with artwork/insert when contacting him with order. So don't hesitate to contact him!!! This guy deserves our support!!!  :)

Richard

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Catalyst" CDr by Steve Brand
« on: January 04, 2013, 11:49:04 AM »


Steve Brand "Catalyst" CDr

Here is another sonic installment by Steve Brand, released during June 2012 on Relaxed Machinery. A four track album, with track lengths durations between 12 and 18 minutes. "Amniotic Light" ignites the journey with droning intro, but soon serenely spiraling and cascading ethereal reveries can be explored, although quite dissonant with its high-pitched tensions. The interaction between celestially warmer and noisier, nearly hallucinogenic passages is hauntingly pleasant, a sort of sonic chamaeleon, one of the trademarks of Steve Brand. At times spiced by assorted distant primal rumbles, which add a truly mysterious earthy feel. Awesome intro!!! Gongs and ear-tickling percussive sounds on title track "Catalyst" take us to the deep cavern to explore humming drones with watery sounds. Quite monstrous soundwalls in some parts, which are melted with eerie tinkles and all kinds of ghostly and otherworldly rumbles, voices, winds and disruptions. Towards the end slightly more relieving and drifting soundscapes step in, although still massively submerging. A truly magnificent listening experience revealing all the mysteries of these spectacular subterranean passageways!!! "Deep Into It" bridges masterfully frosty drones with charmingly shimmering, slightly nostalgic-infused strings`. Deep and windy minimal drones ebb and flow, occasional lighter, with yearning moments wrapped motifs heat these vast glacial panoramas. But also few tighter disruptive washes appear as well. However, the overall sound is still very compact and harmonizing. This gorgeously peaceful composition unfolds utterly serene and meditative atmospheres. But this quiet majesty overlaps also to the closing, beautifully entitled piece, "The Track Of The Moon On Water". With 18 minutes the longest composition on this journey. Warmly inviting washes, slowly meandering across the immense landscapes continue to soothe the listener's ears. Here and there gently fragranced by cavernous drip-like sounds. Masterfully tranquil conclusion by Steve Brand!!! The entire 63-plus minutes flow together as a whole absolutely magnificent. "Catalyst" is another brilliant work by this, in Roeland Park, Kansas, based sound architect. If I would be in the shoes of a label owner searching for some potential composer working with primordial ambient soundscapes, who is constantly releasing his music on CDr format, Steve Brand would be most likely my first choice!!! And don't forget to give a listen also to the newest works of Steve Brand, entitled "Sunprints" (re-release on Pioneer Light Music) and "Our True Nature" (out on Relaxed Machinery)!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 4, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Jeff Pearce "In The Season Of Fading Light" CD

Quite long time has passed since Jeff Pearce's last album "Rainshadow Sky", released back in 2008. But this doesn't mean this ambient guitar virtuoso from West Point, Indiana, was inactive since that. In July 2011 Jeff Pearce has created together with his wife Anastasia a year-long project entitled "Provision Series". During this period Jeff was releasing each month one digital download single with donations to a different charity each month. A truly applauded project of this wonderful person and musician, and his family!!! "In The Season Of Fading Light" CD, packaged in beautiful 4-panel disc eco wallet, was released at the beginning of September 2012 on Jeff Pearce Music and features all 12 singles plus one unreleased track. The album again showcases Jeff's humanitarian dimension, because one dollar of each sold CD is donated to Feeding America. Mostly based on filigree piano performance, the album has a very strong evocative and nostalgic feel and showcase that Jeff Pearce is not only an ambient guitar genius, but also a very accomplished piano player. The portfolio of 13 tracks on the album is quite diverse even if the piano is the leading instrument, but we can hear here and there also peaceful guitar ambience, Jeff's indisputable trademark, along with few tranquil field recordings. The whole album is stunningly beautiful and intimate, with compositions ranging from more serene reveries, through those evoking long forgotten memories to those possessing more euphoric and melodic feel. Quietly meandering, title and opening piece "In The Season Of Fading Light", wonderfully merges sparse reflective piano lead with clouded ethereal guitar washes. Absolutely gorgeous intro!!! "Autumn And Regret II" is hauntingly joyful piano piece and reworked version from the remarkable "Bleed" album, one of my fave albums by Jeff Pearce. "Where All Rivers Begin" and "Harvest Prayer" (the only unreleased composition) masterfully incorporate into expressive piano textures intriguing and absorbing moments of silence. Tranquilly intimate piano on "A Secret For The Moon" with occasional distant dreamy washes is another standout piece!!! "After The Frost" captivates with sorrowful piano, which is later accompanied by immersing electric guitar played by the ebow. Solo piano on "Newfallen" and "Winter Waltz" has a very strong cinematic feel, on the later piece is joined by longing guitar ambience. Without any doubt, both these compositions are pure masterpieces!!! "Almost The Moon II" is another reshaped piano version, this time from "Lingering Light" CD, a beautifully reflective piece. The next composition, "Into Spring", returns to more uplifting mood. "Words From The Rain" are created by heartwarming piano soundscape delicately blanketed by tranquilizing rainy sounds. Pure aural bliss!!! "The Road And The Wind" is again more active while the closing and beautifully entitled "Where All Rivers End" bridges deeply evocative and ruminative piano with gracefully soaring guitar texture. A grand finale and soothing elixir for my ears!!! "In The Season Of Fading Light", 11th solo album by Jeff Pearce, paints hauntingly contemplative sonic landscapes, precisely displayed also by utterly gorgeous cover image by digital art designer Teodora Chinde from Romania. Additional awards also go to Corin Nelsen, Grammy Award winning producer and engineer for the mastering, to Mike Griffin of Hypnos for the graphic design as well as to Philip Aaberg, renowned pianist and composer (recorded for Windham Hill Records), for his lessons. Another amazingly introspective and enchantingly immersing work by Jeff Pearce!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 28, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Thank you Richard, a very gracious review.

It was my great pleasure to review it, Blake!!!

Richard

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Kati Astraier--such an amazing visual artist!  She also did a great one recently with Roach's "Soul Tones."

Wow, I didn't know that, I can't wait to receive "Soul Tones", hopefully it will arrive soon.

Richard

312


Broken Harbour "The Geometry Of Shadows" CDr

Canadian drone sculptor Blake Gibson known as Broken Harbour, based in Edmonton, strikes once again!!! After successful, self-released "Gramophone Transmissions" album he returns with his third full length work, entitled "The Geometry Of Shadows". This time released during November 2012 under the wings of Relaxed Machinery. The first impression is again very strong, just like with "Gramophone Transmissions" (thanks to the stunning cover images by Polish photo wizard Michal Karcz). For "The Geometry Of Shadows" digipak packaging Blake has teamed with another highly applauded visual designer, Kati Astraeir from Tucson, Arizona. There is no way to go wrong with having giants like these two on your side!!! Okay, let's explore now the interactions with the sonic part. "The Geometry Of Shadows" is comprised of 5 longer pieces, all clocking between 11 and 14 and half minutes. As mentioned by its protagonist, the original material for the album was recorded in late 2009, but later, during 2012, was completely reworked to nowadays shape. The album unveils sharply with abysmally freezing and static drones of "Superluminal", wrapped by icy wind, slowly expanding and diving to the most shadowy realms. A truly mind-bending, mammoth drone odyssey!!! The title composition, "The Geometry Of Shadows", moves towards more minimal, less massive structure with circling mechanical noises and eerie breaths, assorted distant rumbles and dissonances, all hazed by pervaded glitches. "Between The Darkness And The Light" returns immediately into heavier drone territories, sounding the deep, surrounded by high-pitched tinkles, squeaks, swirls and noises. Another mind-blowing sonic adventure, which during the second half gently cascades into circling and immense celestial and cinematic panoramas. Not only a precisely fitting track title, but also a pure sonic bliss by Broken Harbour!!! And it's just amazing how it works together with Kati Astraeir's cover image!!! But the magic continues with "Luminosity". I remember surveying this track for the first time while uploading some of my pictures taken in Krásnohorská Cave and it left me immediately breathless!!! No matter if entitled "Luminosity", Broken Harbour's drone virtuosity was stunningly interplaying with these graciously monumental sceneries and quickly transported me back to these fascinating underground domains. Again flavored here and there by high-pitched infusions. Must be the "Luminosity" that bridges the past and present. What a journey!!! This is Broken Harbour at the top of his craft, at his most intense and colossal!!! The closing composition, "Ansible", merges deep low drones with hummed cybernetic fragments, expanding, flowing and ebbing. It provides a very strong finale of this spectacular listening experience. Even if drone based, still richly illuminating, but always powerfully complex and deeply immersing. Broken Harbour is undoubtedly another enormously vital addition to already impressive Canadian ambient scene, mostly represented by artists from Toronto, London and Vancouver areas. Great stuff, you can be really proud of it, Blake!!! And keep on droning!!! I would like to mention also Peter James and Steve Brand from Relaxed Machinery gang, who are credited for mastering and design. Last but not least, I really hope more artists from Relaxed Machinery roster will consider this way in the future, when it goes to packaging choices. Digipak, CD wallet or standard jewel case packaging looks more challenging!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 26, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Alpha Wave Movement "Eolian Reflections" CDr

The master of tranquilly illuminating soundscapes, Gregory Kyryluk acting as Alpha Wave Movement, returns again through Darren Bergstein's Periphery label. His first appearance on this label was with his Within Reason project and I must say that "Subtle Shift" was a real masterwork in cyber-tech electronica, in my ears still one of the best 2012 albums. "Eolian Reflections", released at the beginning of September 2012, return to quieter terrains with slowly expanding and panoramic ambience. As usual for this crafted composer, based in Dover, Massachusetts, he delivers highly sophisticated and elegant soundsculpting filled with emotional depth and warm leisure, masterfully evoking barren landscapes. Beautifully entitled "Canyon Reverie" unfolds graciously with serenely floating drifts, showcasing all AWM's trademarks, where sublime and dreamy washes are hauntingly fused with semi-melodic tapestries and crystalline bell tinkles, all together painting a 13-minute long scenery of sheer wonder, majesty and immensity, just like the deep canyons with monumental plateaus, a truly breathtaking spectacles I must say!!! Both, fragile and massive tribal percussions flavor tranquil expanses of "Cliff Dwellers Dominion", with hints of Native American flute ingredients, plus few aboriginal didge snores and barks are ingeniously thrown here and there. Lushly galvanizing and mysteriously absorbing soundscape displaying filigree artistry of its designer, musically superior and deep!!! An immediate Ambient Hall Of Fame candidate!!! "Dune Reflections" are rather minimal, more meditative, enriched occasionally with harmonious sonic outbursts, cavernous rumbles and organic swirls. This composition offers utterly pleasurable and evocative listening experience to mesmerize and sedate each listener. "Full Moon At Window Arch" is another gorgeously entitled composition, precisely portraying the full beauty of nocturnal life of natural wonders like Utah's Window Arches. Again enriched with warmly inviting melodic fragments and ethereal soars, accompanied by captivating tribal pulses and blanketed by warm and lazy desert nightscapes with chirping birds and cicadas. Primordial journey at its most placid!!! "Natural Geometry" unfolds with deep and distant drones, but soon mid-tempo melodies with celestial infusions invade the stage creating the most textured composition on this journey. In the second half some catchy Southwestern-resonant strings join this stunningly adventurous and intriguing tune, painting pictures surrounded by heat and sand, and recalling sceneries of abandoned places of ghost towns. Awesome!!! "The Crossroads Of Time And Silence", the final, 10 and half minutes long piece is carried by sublimely ebbing and flowing dronescapes, always strongly immersing and again cleverly flavored with few more intense bonds, evoking a raw landscape of spectacular beauty and immense power. A perfect way to close!!! Carefully executed "Eolian Reflections" album is another proof of giant talent and potential of Gregory Kyryluk. And another masterpiece after "Subtle Shift"!!! And by the way, when publishing these lines, a brand new release entitled "Exiled Particles Volume I - Archive 1997-2005" has been released on Gregory's own Harmonic Resonance Recordings, so I definitely stay tuned for more of Alpha Wave Movement's highly imaginative soundscapes. This guy definitely deserves so much more than he gets!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 20, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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I can't wait to receive my ordered copy, Darren's and Drone on's comments make me even more curious!!! This is another proof of the huge talent of Gregory Kyryluk.

Richard

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Craig Padilla / Zero Ohms "When The Earth Is Far Away" CD

After two highly acclaimed collaborations ("Path Of Least Resistance" in 2005 and "Beyond The Portal" in 2009, the later featuring also Skip Murphy), veteran US drifters Craig Padilla (based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) and Richard Roberts aka Zero Ohms (Byhalia, Mississippi) have teamed again, with some help of Skip Murphy (Redding, California), for another graciously floating space exploration, a journey to encounter magnificent emptiness and silence of intergalactic space. Released on Lotuspike during October 2012, the album immediately strikes with the title composition "When The Earth Is Far Away", which masterfully melts Craig Padilla's utterly sublime synth washes and Zero Ohms' woodwind instruments wizardry. The fusion of warm and dreamy electroscapes with soaring and breathing primordial flutes is magically captivating and stunningly panoramic and absorbing. A truly grandiose overture, Maestros!!! Hauntingly immersing electro-acoustic vibrations overlap to the next composition, "Timelessness". With Skip Murphy, who is credited on this one for co-writing and synths, the duo attracts with quietly drifting and ebbing atmozones occasionally interplaying with slightly colossal drone expansions. During its length of nearly 17 minutes, serene piano parts step in here and there, along with sorrowful flute fragments, blanketed by swirling distant tinkles and futuristic sonic sparkles. "Timelessness" is totally awesome, it's tranquilly grandeur and it powerfully exhilarates the synapses of all outer space aficionados!!! Low space rumbles and freezing winds invade "Strange Storms" and drift into breathtakingly mesmerizing intergalactic space realms, colored by celestial harmonic choirs and catchy dissonances to emphasize its unbounded spaciousness. Sonic bliss continues with "Blue Distance", clocking over 12 minutes. Distant rumbles and ethereal voices carry this composition into meandering and waning, warmly inviting, nearly cinematic domain, with slightly nostalgic feel added by murky clouds of touching and evocative flute work. Tranquilizing sea shore waves unfold "Dream Travel" and smoothly transform into deeper circling drone terrains, coupled with lighter, dream-like washes and assorted breaths, swirls and tinkles, all precisely drawn and layered to sculpt a hauntingly aural soundscape, paying a tribute to the bond between the earth and outer space. The closing "Terraforming" (Skip Murphy again appears as guest on synths), with 18 minutes the longest piece, is wrapped by deeper drones, gracefully unfolding and expanding, leaving the infinite shores and entering the gates of the void. Then it swiftly cascades into more relieving and pulsing, sequencer-infused phase interacting with breathy and ethereal flute images, until the earthy field recordings announce the return back home from this amazing interstellar odyssey. Not to forget, Jeff Kowal (artwork) and Ben Cox (mastering) have done great work too, 4-panel eco wallet packaging looks absolutely flawless, there is even a print on both inside pockets!!! "When The Earth Is Far Away" is a must have sonic pearl skillfully merging evocative and magical ancient wind instruments with compelling synth interplanetary panoramas, richly luminous, gigantically fascinating and tranquilly immersing!!! Bravo!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 16, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Gaze" CDr by Joxan Ruiz
« on: December 09, 2012, 09:44:21 AM »


Joxan Ruiz "Gaze" CDr

Spanish label Altera Orbe, run by Ran Kirlian and Landru, keeps on growing, with "Gaze" they introduce a brand new name on their roster, Joxan Ruiz from Madrid. "Gaze" is Joxan's debut work, although he has already appeared in 2011 on Jamendo's download release by Skaven entitled "Divine Intervention", where Joxan appears as guest on didgeridoo and singing bowls. The album launches with "Blue Light", sublimely drifting and sorrowfully cascading primordial soundscape. "Gaze", the title track, meanders towards the sky high realms, with gradual expansions into more massive and intense dronewalls, and backed here and there by hazed cybernetic infusions. "Afterglow" moves in its orbit quite monotonously, along with few more dramatic, but vague intrusions. Beautifully tranquil waves of "Ocean Vibration" are masterfully bridged with gentle cyber grooves and soothing coastal recordings. In the second half distant gauzy tribal beats join this deeply mesmerizing sonic experience, magnífico!!! "Zero Point" enters into more meditative terrains with quietly minimal texture. "Virtual Darkness" unfolds straightly with mysterious drones, enriched by distinctive electro pulses. Both, the darker and the cyber-tech substances are perfectly synapsed into a whole new listening sensibility. Certainly one of the highlights introducing Joxan Ruiz at the top of his artistry!!! The next piece, "Finding The Way", effectively merges the ancient and the modern in slightly discordant way. "Painting Bubbles", one of the shortest tracks on "Gaze", clocking to nearly 3 minutes, is sculpted with minimal warm washes and serenely tinkling sounds evoking upcoming Christmas season. "Hypnos" dives deeply into shadowy subterranean domains, where slow mind-bending drones are spiced by assorted spooky low resonating rumbles and swirls and high-pitched spiraling soars, accomplishing a genuinely trance-inducing atmosphere. Cavernous rumbles lead "Sirenis", the longest composition getting over 10 and half minutes, which flows on minimal, meditative waves coupled also with various crystalline tinkles. Another deeply primordial focused soundscape. "Alpha" immediately returns into monotonous and monstrous drone scenario, again blended with assorted distant noises and sharper cyber-electro-organics. The drones graciously glide throughout and expand into hugely immense panoramas, ranging from more intense and cinematic to more sublime and relieving. Another standout piece, a pure, 10-minute sonic bliss!!! 2 minute long outro "Gone From Here" is sculpted with expressive solo piano. A fairly colorful and distinctive debut by this Spaniard and a perfect addition to Altera Orbe's portfolio. Fellow countrymen Ran Kirlian and Max Corbacho are responsible for the mixing and mastering duties. If you like a wealthy mixture of mysterious dronescaping and few hypnotic cyber-tech escapades, you will enjoy "Gaze"!!! Joxan Ruiz has a quite big collection of flutes and as a member The International Native American and World Flute Association, I am sure he has a lot to offer within the fusion of ancient flutes and electronic sound design.

Richard Gürtler (Dec 09, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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This is a great news, Greg!!! Time to buy some Christmas gift for myself, so expect my order soon... :)

Richard

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Good to know "City Skies 2011" will be available also via Hypnos, this release definitely deserves more exposure. And thank you so much, Harry, for your kind words!!! More reviews are in the pipeline, hopefully I will post them during the Christmas & New Year holidays.  ;)

Richard

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Tony Gerber & Paul Vnuk Jr. "City Skies 2011" CDr

City Skies is an electronic music festival organized yearly by Jim Combs and his team in Kavarna (I like so much that name, I guess it's taken from Czech word "Kavárna" which means café or coffee house) located in Decatur, Georgia, USA. Always focusing on the best US electronic musicians, covering styles such as ambient, downtempo chillout, Berlin school, electropop, IDM, space rock, experimental... 4th Annual City Skies Festival at April 29th & 30th, 2011 has brought together on the stage two veteran ambient sculptors. "City Skies 2011", released on SpaceForMusic.com Records, is the result of strongly evocative sonic dialogue between Tony Gerber from Nashville (also recording as Spacecraft, Cypress Rosewood), who belongs to respected multi-instrumentalists (electronics, flutes, guitars...) and Milwaukee's Paul Vnuk Jr. (member of Ma Ja Le), who excels at keyboards, hand and electronic percussion devices. The document stars with "Skytones", which clock to 11 and half minutes and fascinate with primordially charged atmozones, reinforced by the interactions of sublime drifts, evocative flute magics and crystalline and razor sharp tribal percussions. A truly soothing inner journey to calm your body and mind. "Topa" attracts with expressive flute swirls and barks, which are surrounded by distant beats and nature sounds, soon more uplifting tribal drumming join the stage to challenge the flute mastery. A really galvanizing shamanistic adventure!!! "Ulber" rather floats through sky high realms, smoothly meandering from more intense passages to more relieving reveries, flavored by always amazingly evocative flute and enveloped by assorted fragile tinkles. These artistic conversations are deeply immersing, the world of ancient mysteries awaits!!! The next composition, "Kuyn", is invaded by tranquilly plaintive and dreamy ambient guitar, hauntingly beautiful and immensely visualizing!!! The closing track, "Gracious", hits over 17-minute mark and moves, no wonder, graciously through widescreen sonic panoramas, from native-infused to aerially expanding and contemplative. Powerful fusion of ancient flute and gently floating, ruminative ambience with the infusion of wistful strings and gentle tribal drumming. An all-inclusive grand finale!!! "City Skies 2011" invite you to enter into the magnificently tranquil world, where ancient merges with modern, where Tony Gerber and Paul Vnuk Jr. bring to the table the very best of their musicianship. Their mutual standout sound language produces a truly absorbing and mesmerizing electro-acoustic journey!!! I wish I could have been at Kavarna...

Richard Gürtler (Dec 02, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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